The way to go

Finding a map app that is capable of plotting our 15,000km long route through over a dozen different countries is almost impossible. Google Maps just throws an error message at you while Open Street Maps doesn’t seem to handle additional waypoints. Only thanks to HERE Wego, which (almost*) did the job right, you can look at our approximate cycling route for the coming months.

(* I say “almost” because for reasons unknown, HERE Wego refuses to plot any route through Myanmar as if there weren’t any roads there at all. I hope there are.)

The Easy…

Jona will be coming from his home town and pick me up in Brussels; in fact, he’s already on his way right now! Our first stop is Frankfurt/Germany (to see my family), then we’ll be crossing Bavaria and go down the Danube to Vienna (some more family there). We plan to continue through Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria to Istanbul. By then I hope that German-Turkish relations will have improved a bit — go Angie!

The Hard…

After crossing Turkey in November we will — insh’allah — pick up our Iran visas at the Iranian consulate in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey, and cross the border to Iran some time in December. Iran is going to be a long and cold ride with temperatures in the northern part possibly down to -15°C/5°F and a constant altitude of about 1,000m on the central plateau. There are two deserts to cross (yes, we will bring enough water), many wonderful places to visit, and over 2,500km of cycling before we reach the border with Pakistan.

The Unknown…

As of today, Iran and Pakistan maintain only one open border crossing which is on the road to Quetta (a town I would usually prefer to avoid). Although there are reports about plans to open a new border post further south, it does unfortunately not seem to be “operational” yet according to people in the country and officials I asked.

If (and that’s a big if) we make it into Pakistan, we will aim at continuing through India, optionally Nepal and/or Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where — in my fairyland-little-brother-dreamworld — my older brother and his wife will be waiting for us with a freshly baked Pizza Hawaii and a cup of dark hot chocolate.

Happy End. 🚴💨

2 thoughts on “The way to go”

  1. Hi Jan,

    I have read all your stories with great interest – I admire you for your courage to pursue this dream. And I feel like I can ‘picture’ your journey quite well. That is because I recently bought a photo book of a guy who undertook the same journey (also by bicycle). The stories he describes, the pictures he took…it is just fascinating! When I saw it lying in the bookshelf I just had to have it; I read it sometimes in the evening, just to relax and let my mind wonder off pondering what a great adventure this must be…

    Reading your first post, I realized I may know the reason why the HERE WE GO doesn’t map Myanmar roads. You have probably heard about the horrible ethnic cleansing campaign that is going on in Rakhine state right now. This province bordering Bangladesh, as well as the parts along the border of Chin, Sagaing and Kachin state are controlled by the military and off-limits to tourists. There are often violent skirmishes with minority groups in these states. I therefore think you cannot enter the country from the west or north. It is a real shame because it is an absolutely wonderful country, hardly influenced by Western modernity.

    You must be on your way out of Budapest now. I hope you and Anna had a wonderful time together. It mustn’t be easy to continue on your own again now…good luck!


    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement Jesper, most needed 🙂 The departure from Budapest hasn’t been easy indeed. It’s gonna be a long 2.5 weeks until Istanbul, where we meet again. But I’m excited to cross into Serbia tomorrow!

      Thanks also for the info on Myanmar. Admittedly we haven’t done a whole lot of research on SE Asia since it feels so far away now (well, it is). I’ll keep an eye on the situation there though and hope of course that for the sake of those concerned the violence will stop as soon as possible. Just read that Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t even want to participate in the UN GA debate regarding the Rohingya…

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